16th September, 2017

For FPA's national Sexual Health Week, we're supporting parents, teachers and health professionals to have more open conversations about sex and porn. 

Sam Evans told us why she thinks this is important, and gives her own tips.

As a parent of three teenagers, I personally feel it’s our responsibility to talk about porn with our children, rather than relying completely on schools to talk about it in sex education.

Our children should be able to come to us to discuss any concerns, and we should be able to listen fully before rushing in with our input.

Oftentimes they may want to talk about things that have happened at school, such as sexting, the sharing of porn or explicit photos, and sexual harassment in the playground and classroom.

These conversations can lead to discussions on healthy relationships and sex, and we can steer them to focus on respect and consent.

Opening the conversation

We’ve often had sex education talks during walks and on days out, rather than sitting down and having “the talk”.

We’ve also found that stories on social media have opened up the conversation too, raising questions or general talk on everything from public hair to using derogatory language to describe people – a lot of which is often heard in porn.

Many children have access to smart phones from a very young age, and parents need to know what their children are looking at. This is why parental filters should be in place.

Doing what we do for a living, conversations about sex are quite commonplace in our home, but I know that this isn’t the norm! Many parents don’t talk to their children about sex or porn, and sometimes children don’t get the answers they are looking for.

We don’t divulge personal information about our sex life, but our children know we are passionate about people enjoying good sexual intimacy and pleasure in a happy, healthy and consensual way.

Demystifying porn

We have spoken to our children about the tricks that porn actors use to make them seem body beautiful and ready for sex the instant they are touched.

They know the female bodies are often surgically enhanced with fake breasts and designer vaginas and that the male actors use penis enhancement products to look bigger. I’m not sure how many adults are aware of these tricks too!

The view that all women can orgasm through penetration is wrong, as the majority of women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Yet women orgasming through penetration alone is often shown in porn, with many of the actors faking their orgasms.

They also know that although the actors involved may seem to be enjoying what they doing, some acts are just not pleasurable in real life for many people.

Empowering our children

Our 17 year old daughter has told us our open conversation and honesty helped her to say no to a persistent boyfriend pestering her for sex (now ex-boyfriend!) This raises the issue of consent and not being coerced into doing something you don’t want to do.

She believes that if parents shut down conversations about porn, children will still go looking for it anyway.

It’s not going away, so they need to know that porn sex is staged and often not a reflection of real life sex. It’s also important to reiterate that although porn presents sex in this way – there’s more to a person and relationships than sex.

END